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Jessica R. Ratcliff

Assistant Professor

Jessica R. Ratcliff

Morrill Hall, Room 310

Educational Background

  • D.Phil., History, University of Oxford
  • M.Sc., History of Science, University of Oxford
  • B.A., Cognitive Science, Vassar College


Jessica Ratcliff works on the history of science and technology. She specialises in Britain and its former empire from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Her work so far has explored the historical relationship between forms of science and forms of state, in contexts ranging from technological invention and courtier culture in seventeenth-century England to state patronage of physical sciences in nineteenth-century Travancore. She is particularly interested in studying the connections between science and the state by way of economics and material culture. Her current book project is about data collections and systems of knowledge at the East India Company and the India Office in the nineteenth century.


  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Society for the Humanities

Graduate Fields

  • Science and Technology Studies


  • South Asia Program


  • “Hand in Hand with the Survey: Surveying and the Accumulation of Knowledge Capital at India House during the Napoleonic Wars.” Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science 0 (0) (December 2018)

  • "The East India Company, the Company's Museum, and the Political Economy of Natural History in the Early Nineteenth Century" Isis (September 2016)

  • "Travancore's Magnetic Crusade: geomagnetism and the geography of scientific production in a princely state" British Journal for the History of Science (June 2016) 

  • "The Great Data Divergence: Global History of Science within Global Economic History" in Global Scientific Practice during the Age of Revolutions (Patrick Manning and Dan Rood, eds., University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016)

  • "'Art to Cheat the Common-Weale': Inventors, Projectors and Patentees in English Satire, c. 1630-80" Technology and Culture 53(2) (2012)

  • The Transit of Venus Enterprise in Victorian Britain (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008)

  • "Models, Metaphors, and the Transit of Venus in Victorian Britain" Special issue: "The astronomical event of the century? Social history of the transits of Venus, 1874-1882" Cahiers François Viète 11—12 (2007)

  • "Samuel Morland and his Calculating Machines c. 1666: The Early Career of a Courtier-Inventor in Restoration London" British Journal for the History of Science 40(2) (2007)


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